Capitol shooting suspect had ‘mental problem’ |

Capitol shooting suspect had ‘mental problem’

Colleen Slevin
Associated Press
Vail, CO Colorado
Ed Andrieski/APA Denver Police detective carries evidence from the home of Aaron Snyder and his parents after a search of the property in Thornton Tuesday.

DENVER ” A self-declared “emperor” who was shot to death by a state trooper outside the governor’s office had a loaded .357 handgun and was apparently suffering from a “mental problem,” authorities said Tuesday.

Police Chief Gerry Whitman said Aaron Snyder, 32, had been escorted out of Gov. Bill Ritter’s office on Monday when he pulled back his coat to reveal the handgun and moved toward a state trooper.

Snyder did not draw the weapon but was shot when he refused orders to stop, Whitman said.

Whitman did not elaborate on Snyder’s mental condition.

Snyder had walked into the state Capitol at about 2 p.m. Monday and got into a confrontation with Ritter’s security detail, authorities said. Ritter was inside the office and said he heard the shots. No one besides the gunman was hurt.

Before he was shot, Snyder said, “I am the emperor and I’m here to take over state government,” said Evan Dreyer, the governor’s spokesman.

About three hours earlier, Snyder had gone to a suburban Northglenn shop with a gun and knife in his pockets, rented a tuxedo and told a woman it was “the day of the emperor’s reign,” Northglenn police said.

Also on Monday, Snyder told a co-worker in an e-mail that God made him “the emperor, the sovereign ruler of this nation,” said police in Fort Collins, where Snyder had been an intern for Advanced Energy.

“God has bestowed this honor on me. Today is the appointed day in which God has chosen for me to begin my reign,” the e-mail read.

Advanced Energy said Snyder worked there for two months. The company issued a statement offering sympathy to Snyder’s family but declining to give any specifics about Snyder or his work.

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